Bob, the family man to me, means more than just us kids and grandkids. Bob was an only child, with 5 first cousins. So the meaning of family is more extended for him than it is most. His cousins were growing up and are today his siblings. I know that I love my cousins and we are close, but we can’t hold a candle to the relationships that Bob has had with his cousins. Richard and George are the younger brothers, both always ready to share stories and laughs. Mary E, MarySue and Sara, the sisters, of course, who Bob has always loved bragging up their cooking or whatever else came to mind at the time. See Bob was lucky, he had those ‘siblings’ and got to enjoy all the love, but didn’t have to suffer through the day to day sibling spats that the rest of us have had. Because of this relationship he’s held for his whole lifetime with his cousins, we’ve all been blessed to have a closer relationship with their families, one that had Bob had brothers and sisters, we may not have ever known. For me, within my closest circles of my own friendships are three members of that group.
Bob the church and community minded neighbor has been a blessing in many lives as well. When something needs to be done at Tulip, I can say without a doubt for the last several years, my father in law, has been right there ready to go. He’s had a smile on his face and a willingness to serve his fellow man that is unmatched by many. He’s consistently worked in many capacities in our own church, over the years on MFA boards, working at the local and county level with 4H and FFA during fair time or any other time, rain or shine, he’s right there asking what else he can do to help.
Bob, the man of God. I am not sure that I have known to many people who have been as accepting of God’s will in their lives as Bob. As long as I have known him, which was barely a third of his lifetime, he has always been the example I go back to again and again, when I think of living a true Christian life. He’s been God’s servant in so many ways. He’s taught Sunday School, been a role model and advisor to many on their walk through faith. Even when personal times were tough, he’s never blamed God to my knowledge when a lesser person might have. And Bob has endured some pretty rough times and held his head high and kept traveling down lifes journey, all the while amazing us all.
Maybe God made Bob a farmer for all of these reasons. He’s persevered through many things in his life, not all of them easy ones, and we certainly all know the life of a farmer isn’t an easy one. Hard work and dedication are certainly the name of the game. I have always thought that farmers are closer to God than a lot of other professions, he’s kind of our business partner. One that many farmers talk to daily. Thanks for the needed rains, thanks for group of heifers who all calved easily, or the requests for help when the rains came and weren’t needed or we had to pull all the calves that spring. Bob has always been such an accepting person of whatever the outcome was, good harvest or not so good. Twin calves that the cow raised, or pulling them both, maybe losing one and have to bottle feed the other. It’s always been Gods will that ruled Bob’s life. A lesson that we could all take from him, that’s for sure.
Now I come to a part that I knew for me would be hard, so saved it for last and pray that I can get through it. Bob, the grandfather. There are 5 lights in his life, he’d tell you. He’s certainly always been a proud and supportive father, but he has said so many times that being a grandfather has been something that has amazed him beyond words. If you wanted to see his face light up regardless of the situation, just let one of those kids come into his line of vision. He was our helper last fall when Cody started HS and needed lots of extra rides into town. His health had hampered his full bore all day work hard work day of a farmer, so he was able to enjoy driving in to take Cody to school activities, it was a blessing for us as we juggled get the other three kids to their things. I think that it was blessing for Bob and Cody as well. Cody has matured to the point where he and Bob could talk on an adult level about so many aspects of life. I know that over the years, Cody will look back at some of those talks and realize that blessing over and over. Sam has always tickled Bob, with the similar quieter personalities, I think that Bob ‘gets’ Sam, probably in a way, that I know I don’t always understand myself. He was always so proud of the young man he’s becoming. Growing up on a farm, there’s always little helpers who from varying degrees at different ages loved to help Dad or Grandpa, but I think the helper that Bob got the biggest kick out of has been Jenna. Their rides over to Amish country to deliver hay were always educational in his report, to which David and I always wondered just what all she said and were secretly grateful that they didn’t return with a pony. ‘Ram=pa’ and Seth have gotten closer in the last few years, since his older siblings have all been in school. I am sure that ‘educational’ would be one way Bob would describe some of their talks. Then there’s our little nephew Marshall. Lunchtime at Grandma and Grandpa’s and four wheeler rides have been some of the outward highlights of their time spent together. Marshall is definitely an eager and willing worker, just like Pa Pa, especially when it comes to riding on a tractor with him. He’s looking so forward to our niece being born, I hope and pray they get to meet face to face.
I know that I could talk all day about the amazing ways this man has blessed our lives, but part of that blessing is that each of you have so many wonderful memories. His legacy of love, friendship, and service will be felt for beyond his lifetime. I know I count him as one of my many blessings.